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There was only one answer that you got from a real North Sea diver when he was asked, ďHow deep have you been?Ē These guys worked hard and played hard. My friend Al was from California and had never had a real job other than one in the water. After he graduated from High School he moved to Hawaii to surf and dive. While working for a diving company he got certified in everything. This guy was like a fish. He couldnít help it. He loved the water and made a good living doing just exactly what he wanted to be doing. What a great way to go through life even though some diverís lives turn out to be shorter than others. They knew the risk of diving in the North Sea. Accident after accident took these boys lives. Everybody knew a diver that had been lost. Some of the divers on the West Venture were showing porno movies one night and having a real good time on board when one of these guys ask me if I would like to go for a ride in the diving bell? Well, I had never been, so why not? Of course, Iíd love to go. Will we get into any trouble? I should have known that we would but really who cares when you get to do something like this. Itís just like on TV. The guy says , ĒHey, yaíll watch this!!Ē, just before screwing up real bad. Offshore rigs donít jump divers every day. Most of the dives are training people how to work better as a team. All equipment is maintained to perfection. Lives depend on this equipment to work properly and it does. If you are claustrophobic do not get in a diving bell with anyone. It was late at night and we went out there like we had good sense and climbed into the bell. We were in the water in less than a minute and nobody seemed to care or even knew about it. I was told the bottom was at 574 ft. and we started down. The lights dimmed inside the bell and we started the descent into the deep and unknown. I had the same spooky feeling while backing down into the pyramid in Cairo. Itís the unknown that intrigues you. Your heart rate increases and you can hear it pounding in your chest and you wonder if the other guys can hear it. The hair stands up on the back of your neck and you begin to warm up. The heavy breathing is coming from everybody. It is big time dark. Even with the outside lights on you still canít see anything. You peer through the small port hole hoping for a glimpse of something, anything, but there is nothing to see. When you couldnít see anything, the trip kind of lost its thrill. They could have gone down only to twenty feet for all I know. Itís REAL dark down there. The deeper you go the quieter it gets. The bell moans and groans some as the pressures increase. Your ears also moan and groan, popping and trying to equalize. I donít want to go back. The trip never got mentioned by anyone. We did not get into any trouble. I get uncomfortable when I have no chance of survival in case of a problem. Divers have more fun in town than they do while they are out here. My respect for them is equal to my respect for oil well fire fighters.
I had another friend named Les that was a submarine pilot. His job was to go deep. Deep is 1,000 ft. plus. You canít jump divers that deep so you charter a one or two man submarine. Les had moved to Scotland from Florida. He lived in Ft. Lauderdale and searched at 1,000 ft. plus for some rich cats that collect sea shells. He said that the shells from the deep were different from the more shallow waters. The collectors sell or trade them to other enthusiasts. He had a really macho job. Iím not sure that chasing drilling rigs will ever pay enough to go sea shell hunting with the rich cats. Woo is me.